Felix Crux

Technology & Miscellanea

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The Ledger accounting system is a powerful (but not very easy to adopt) software tool for double-entry bookkeeping. It can be used for far more than just basic finances: tracking billable hours, calculating taxes and tithes, reporting on the asset class balance of your investment portfolio… almost anything you can think of — if you can figure out how to do it.

Most of the information I could find just presented a basic overview of the simplest possible use of the tool. The official documentation, on the other hand, is very comprehensive, but it's like being given a pile of logs and some nails when you're trying to find out how to build a house.

I therefore will be writing up a series of posts on “Ledger Practices”, describing how I actually use the system for intermediate-complexity personal accounting. These should be “recipes” for solving real problems or answering real questions using ledger.

I specifically will not be explaining how or why you'd use Ledger, or how to install it and get started. It's assumed you're past that and are now trying to find out how to reasonably use it for real-world data. For a more general introduction to ledger, and why you might want to use it, consult the official manual or the Plain Text Accounting site.)

I'm also very much an amateur, and I know plenty of people have both better and more complex ledger setups. I'd very much like to hear about them: half the reason I want to write this up is to be told why what I cobbled together is wrong or redundant and how it could be better. Please don't hesitate to share your improvements.


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